My Diabetes Inklings

HbA1c Conflict

In the diabetes community, there is a push to look beyond the A1c. Traditionally, the A1c was the golden child to see how our diabetes management is going. To put it simply, the A1c is an average of all your blood glucose over the past three months, which is the lifespan of a red blood cell. The problem is that it is only an average and can be marred by a myriad of high and low numbers. Hence the push to see beyond the A1c and look a time spent in target range instead.I often reassure people, as a healthcare professional, that the A1c is just a number. It’s a data point for us to see how we’re doing and it’s certainly not the end of the world. Yet, as a person with diabetes, my heart sank when I was told that my recent A1c has jumped up by almost a whole percentage point for the first time in years.

Then I internally berated myself for feeling upset. Because…you know…the A1c is just a number and it’s just a data point to help guide my way forward right? Practice what you preach right? But it’s hard to dissociate those feelings after years of it being the norm.

Thankfully, my endo is incredibly supportive and wasn’t fussed in the least. He blamed it on my PhD, work and “all those long periods of sitting”. The thing was though, that I had been making an extra effort since my last conference trip to hit all my daily activity goals by hitting the gym and going for walks.

I still felt defeated because even though I was doing my absolute best, it felt like it wasn’t good enough.

So this weekend, I let pessimistic me win. I thought to myself; I’ve been trying so hard and it hasn’t made a difference so why bother. So instead of hitting the gym, and going for walks, I’ve mostly stayed at home to work on my thesis. Sure it’s been productive, but kinda gloomy considering the Spring weather is starting to shine through.

On the other hand, I know that being active and mindful of my eating benefits me in more ways than just my A1c. Things have been stressful lately and we know how diabetes loves rising cortisol levels. I have three weeks to go before submitting my thesis, and I’m still adjusting to my new job. But nothing is worth sacrificing my health for.

Now that I’ve let pessimistic me have some time in the spotlight, it’s time for the rational and sensible me to take charge again.

5 thoughts on “HbA1c Conflict”

  1. So true Ashley. It is hard to not try to quantify yourself based on numbers despite how much you tell yourself otherwise. For whatever comfort it may bring, you are not alone.
    I am curious (if you don’t mind my asking and having been misdiagnosed as T2D for about six years), why is your type of diabetes under constant debate?
    Wishing you no worries and best of luck on your thesis, Carmen

    1. Thanks! I’m glad I’m not the only one.

      I haven’t got insulin resistance and my body is still producing very minimal amounts of insulin on its own which is unusual for T1DM. I also tested negative for antibodies, HLA gene, common MODY genes. There’s no real category I fit into!

  2. When I wrote my dissertation my A1C went up 1/2 point. I think it is a common thing. Was it worth it? Yep, I am glad I got it down again, but I am also glad I got my Ed.D.

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